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had made. To destroy what you create—that was power, the
fullest manifestation. Maybe that was it, he thought. The
last vanity.

May was in the side garden, as she had been that after
noon months before, when he had ridden his mare to a
lather to get home to tell May that he was to be on the
board. But the season was different now. It had been almost
fall then, the zinnias dry and rusty, the maple leaves pocked
and faded and hanging motionless on the boughs or lying
sparsely on the overgrown gravel of the walk, one here, one
there. She had been standing there, as she was accustomed
to do in the fall, among the ruins of the garden which she
had forgotten all summer. He had moved swiftly toward
her then, the grass over the gravel carpeting his tread, and
had tried to seize on and understand the very essence of her
aloneness as she stood there unaware of his approach.

Now, as then, he moved swiftly toward her, his steps
muffled, and his attention poised for the moment when she
would turn to discover him. She was kneeling beside the
walk. She wore no hat, and her hair was dishevelled and
slipping from its heavy coils. The pale light that washed
through the budding trees accented delicately the yellow of
her hair.

He was almost upon her before she lifted her head.

"Hello," he said, and stretched out his hand to help her
to her feet. She dropped the trowel with which she had been
digging in the flower bed, and stood up to kiss him. " Oh,
Perse/' she told him, " I'm getting ready to plant some nas-
turtiums. Along the walk here. Don't you think that would
be nice?"

"Yes/* he answered. Her gaze went back to the little
patch of black earth and mould which she had turned up from
under the cover of last year's leaves.

"You know," he said, "Tolliver is suing the Association.
For his tobacco/'

"Oh, Perse, can he do that?"

" He's doing it," he commented.  He noticed that she was